Adobe Photoshop Commission

To create three themed fantasy artworks highlighting the need for more diverse body representation in Fine Art Photography.

The world of Fine Art photography is a beautiful one, but it is not the most inclusive. Scrolling through social media and art feeds, you will often find the same character generated in every conceptual photograph: white, slim, heterosexual and befitting society's traditional beauty standards. This leaves a high percentage of audiences enjoying this art without representation and feeling unseen, which leads to continued ignorance and dismissal surrounding a person's condition or culture. 

This funded project looks at how the photography community can be more active in creating work inclusive of all bodies, including those with disabilities, limb differences and long-term conditions. 


This project aims to encourage artists to be mindful of the imagery they are creating and asks them to question whether they could be going further to make their own portfolios more inclusive. If you are using models, how and why are you selecting them? Are you actively working to shoot with models outside of traditional beauty standards? 

As a self-portrait photographer, this is something I never considered at the beginning of my career. However, as I broke away from my roots and started shooting with models, I realised my portfolio was still showing the same character over and over again. This was not through any deliberate means, but simply because I was being passive in my model selection, naive to the fact that I was perpetuating the stereotype that a person only deserves to be a Princess or Queen if you look a certain way. I still have a lot of work to do in making sure my portfolio shows a diverse range of body type, race and sexuality.

By recording time-lapses of my editing process and providing some behind-the-scenes action, I also hope to inspire in new/young artists that you can create amazing work without a large team and masses of technical equipment. 

Concept 1 – Mermaid 

For my first concept, I worked with model Cecilia Adamou – a twenty-one year old heart & kidney transplantee and cancer survivor with minimal feeling in her feet. As soon as I pitched my concept her, Cecilia was on board, having always dreamed of being a mermaid! We arranged to shoot on one of Brighton's smaller beaches which had these amazing dark rocks for Cecilia to perch on in all her mermaid glory. I had chosen this beach especially for the rocky formation, knowing the turquoise tail would stand out against them. 
As a natural light photographer, my preferred conditions for shooting in is cloudy overcast. On the day of this shoot however, the drizzly grey weather the UK is known for dissipated into dazzling sunlight. Due to the restrictions on timing, we waited as long as we could until late afternoon when I knew the sun would no longer be directly overhead. I then positioned my model so she was always facing away from the sun, making sure there were no harsh highlights falling on her face. 

For the final artwork piece from this shoot, I wanted to choose a wide landscape shot that included all the detail in the tail; a curious mermaid lounging on the sea rocks, watching the humans from afar. 
Photography: Joanna Claire Sellick
Model: Cecilia Adamou @thececiliajoy
Tail: Kernow Mermaid @thecornishmermaid
Crown: Aurora & Moon @aurora.and.moon

Concept 2 – Ballerina 

I had wanted to work with model Ashley Young for a while, so when crafting the concept for her shoot I knew I had to put her dancing experience to good use and transform her into a beautiful ballerina. Ashley uses her social media platform to share her experiences as a woman and a new mum with a limb difference; some of her most recent reels include commonly asked questions about her bionic arm and how she goes about everyday tasks such as putting on make-up, tying shoelaces and zipping up dresses. 

Ashley was so magnificent to watch changing into all the different ballet poses. I kept forgetting to give out instructions because I was so transfixed by how gracefully she moved!​​​​​​​
When editing, I decided the original backdrop we shot her on wasn't working for the concept I had in mind. Instead, I decided to use a woodland setting I had extra RAWs of from a previous shoot that coincided with the same lighting we experienced on the day of shooting. The narrative I wanted to tell with this photo was of a girl so bewitched by the melody of her enchanted music box, that she transformed into a wind-up ballerina, destined to dance to the melody forever. 
Photography: Joanna Claire Sellick
Model: Ashley Young @orlandocyborgashley
Tutu: Dance Direct
Concept 3 – Valkyrie 

For my final concept, I knew I wanted to work with full-time model and motivational speaker Sian Lord. Sian talks openly in schools and groups about the accident that led to her amputation and how she found the strength to carry on alongside her disability. An advocate for positive body image and self-love, I wanted to depict Sian in a position of strength and power. Shooting uphill with the clouds behind her and ground far below was the perfect landscape to emphasise this
Another sunny day (3 sunny shoots in a row has to be some kind of record with the British weather), we decided to wait until the last hour of sunset, also known as 'Golden Hour'. This added an ethereal gold halo around Sian, adding to the tale of a lone Valkyrie heading into battle to defend chosen warriors. 
Photography: Joanna Claire Sellick
Model: Sian Lord @sianlord_
Armour: Mytholon @mytholon_store
Headpiece: Hysteria Machine @hysteriamachine